HONG KONG—The movie does not open until next week, but according to the Guardian mainstream Chinese are already flocking to the more permissive environment of Hong Kong for the chance to see an unedited cut of Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, a sexually explicit movie that the newspaper has mistakenly identified as the world’s first 3D porn flick. Dominic Ford’s Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls, a XXX gay parody of the mainstream movie, debuted in March 2010, and on the straight side, New Sensation’s Octopussy 3-D: A XXX Parody was released in April 2010.
Still, the significance of the release of Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, which AVN first wrote about all the way back in 2009, cannot be underestimated, especially in terms of the pre-release excitement it is causing in China and also the relative heft of its budget, which was reportedly in the neighborhood of $4 million. That’s puny for a mainstream 3D release, of course, but in the very upper echelon for porn.
The movie is the product of Stephen Shiu Jr., chairman of One Dollar productions, who wrote and produced the Cantonese-language production that is a sequel to his father's 1991 blockbuster, Sex And Zen, which the younger Shiu also worked on. According to the Independent, the earlier movie “made £1.6m at the box office and is still a soft-core legend in Hong Kong lore. That film has kicked off an entirely new series of Category III, or X-rated, movies.”
The new film, like its predecessor, is based on a 17th Century Chinese erotic text, The Carnal Prayer Mat, the plot of which involves a young man who is introduced to a world of royal orgies and other sexual indulgences. Starring one Hong Kong and two Japanese actors in the main roles, it is directed by Christopher Sun, and contains, according to producer Shiu, "some very graphic sex scenes.”
In addition to the earlier Sex and Zen, mainland China was also riveted by Ang Lee’s 2007 erotic thriller, Lust, Caution. Despite the fact that it was released in China proper only after two violent sex scenes were cut from the movie, it too prompted a wave of people traveling to Hong King to see the unedited version. Shiu will have no problem in that regard.
“Thousands of tickets for the movie have already been pre-sold in Hong Kong,” reported the Independent. “At the recent Filmart event in Hong Kong, where the Asian industry gathers to show off its wares, the Sex and Zen stand was constantly crowded and made sales all over the region and in Europe. The film-makers are also cutting numerous versions of the movie in the hope that it will be able to pass censors in different Asian markets.”
None of the articles indicate whether Shiu plans to release or distribute Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy in the United States, but odds are unauthorized digital versions will make their way here in a New York minute.
Photo: Japanese actress Saori Hara on the set of Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.